Current debates about religion and science--what is the "truth value" or usefulness of religion? what is the role of each in society?--would seem very strange to anyone living in the thousands of years before the Enlightenment. Indeed, the idea that one must choose between scientific and religious accounts of world would simply not have come up. Why are science and religion now often seen as incompatible and why is this debate important?
Readings will include: the history of the religion-science debate, texts that hold religion to be primitive and useless, texts from science which hold that religion and science are not only compatible but similar human endeavors, and texts about the view of science in non-Christian faiths. The course is suitable for students in theology and religious education, students interested in ethics, and students interested in the intersection between religion and culture, especially religious and scientific thought structures. The class will be given in English, but Prof. Pally understands German. Students may talk and ask questions in both languages.